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Thursday, July 25, 2013

On Flight and Fight

This morning in the Spurgeon Daily Devotional, the idea of flight is explored.

"He left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out." (Gen 39:12)

Spurgeon writes,

In contending with certain sins there remains no mode of victory but by flight. The ancient naturalists wrote much of basilisks, whose eyes fascinated their victims and rendered them easy victims; so the mere gaze of wickedness puts us in solemn danger. He who would be safe from acts of evil must haste away from occasions of it. A covenant must be made with our eyes not even to look upon the cause of temptation, for such sins only need a spark to begin with and a blaze follows in an instant. Who would wantonly enter the leper's prison and sleep amid its horrible corruption? He only who desires to be leprous himself would thus court contagion. If the mariner knew how to avoid a storm, he would do anything rather than run the risk of weathering it. Cautious pilots have no desire to try how near the quicksand they can sail, or how often they may touch a rock without springing a leak; their aim is to keep as nearly as possible in the midst of a safe channel.

This day I may be exposed to great peril, let me have the serpent's wisdom to keep out of it and avoid it. The wings of a dove may be of more use to me to-day than the jaws of a lion. It is true I may be an apparent loser by declining evil company, but I had better leave my cloak than lose my character; it is not needful that I should be rich, but it is imperative upon me to be pure. No ties of friendship, no chains of beauty, no flashings of talent, no shafts of ridicule must turn me from the wise resolve to flee from sin. The devil I am to resist and he will flee from me, but the lusts of the flesh, I must flee, or they will surely overcome me. O God of holiness preserve thy Josephs, that Madam Bubble bewitch them not with her vile suggestions. May the horrible trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil, never overcome us!

I am also studying my way through the Gospel of John this summer.  In John 12, the season of miracles and signs in Jesus' earthly ministry comes to a close as He enters Jerusalem.  Jesus models what it is to face the world with the extravagant grace of sacrifice.  He speaks clearly about the hour that has come. In this chapter, it is "decision time" for followers, pretenders, foreigners, and haters.  Mary declares her devotion as she anoints Him, the Greeks "wish to see Him" and the Pharisees want to kill Him.

As I reconcile two ideas in tension: that we are to flee from sin with abandon while confronting our culture with the Gospel, I think I see the very heart of discipleship--God leaves us here to make a difference in our world, not to have a difference made on us by the world.  

Father, help me to discern when it is time to flee and when it is time to face.